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06
Nov

Ba communities celebrate clean water

More than 120 residents from two rural communities in Ba Province celebrated access to safe drinking water on Thursday, in a ribbon-cutting ceremony that completed a 3 month-effort to plan, design and build sustainable rural water infrastructure.

FIJI Water Foundation partnered with Rotary Pacific Water for Life Foundation (RPW) to provide filtered drinking water systems to two rural communities in the remote hinterlands of Ba.

Since July 2015, the Fiji Water Foundation has contributed $50,000 to Water for Life projects, providing access to safe drinking water and sanitation for three remote communities and a district school in the area.

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Chief guest and CEO of FIJI Water, Mr Rokoseru Nabalarua cut the ceremonial ribbon at Rara village and Cirisobu settlement.

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Women in Rara Village garland the chief guests with flowers in a traditional Kava welcoming ceremony.

The completed projects began delivering safe filtered water to Cirisobu settlement and Rara village in July of this year.

A new spring gravity water system now safely transports water from a protected catchment area through underground pipes to storage tanks in Cirisobu settlement. In addition, two biosand filtration systems provide safe drinking water. With new water supply, the existing flush toilets have become operational.

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Cirisobu settlement consists of 10 households and over 65 inhabitants. Until this year, the rural farming community was relying on a temporary dug spring located 100 metres away from the settlement. The low-yielding spring source was determined high risk for contamination by local health authorities.

 

Further up the road, nestled between picturesque hills, lies Rara village where 16 families now enjoy filtered water from two drinking stations. A 5000 litre storage tank and two sets of biosand filtration systems were built to cater for the drinking needs of 60 inhabitants.

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Five generations of the Rasoni family now drink filtered water from a tap stand outside their homes.

It was a community effort to set up the biosand filtration units. Water committee members helped build the facility using gravel from the Nalotawa riverbed, a 2 hour hike from the village through hilly terrain. The new rural water system is connected to 10 household tap stands, the community hall and two communal flush toilets.

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The biosand water filtration system is specifically designed for household use in locations where water is readily accessible from open spring, creeks or streams. Untreated water filters through sand with bacteria and other micro-organisms, straining pathogens and suspended solids.

In the coming months, RPW will run awareness and skills training workshops to strengthen the capacity and governance of community water committees. This will ensure members of the community understand how to correctly operate and maintain their rural water supply systems.

Since its inception in 2007, RPW has supported over 265 communities and schools in Fiji, transforming more than 70,000 lives with access to safe drinking water and sanitation. RPW works alongside key government agencies such as the Water and Sewerage Department, Department of Rural and Maritime Development and the Ministry of Health to mobilise community efforts in building sustainable water and sanitation infrastructure in rural communities.

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